DALLAS — Mayor Eric Johnson announced "Dallas Forward" on Tuesday. It’s a new program aimed at helping the small and medium-sized businesses hardest hit by the pandemic.
The initiative will help direct businesses to financial resources, business coaches, and PPE if they need it.
Richard Fisher is the former president and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas and the co-chair of the city’s task force on economic recovery. He said minority-owned businesses have been especially hard hit.
“Ninety percent of the businesses that are small in Dallas employ people of color. Seventy percent of all the workers in these small businesses are people of color, at risk of losing their jobs,” Fisher said. “Already 31,000 of them have already lost their jobs and we estimate in our task force another 25,000 are this far away from losing their jobs or at least having their income suspended.”
"Dallas Forward" is an online resource center for business owners. On the financial resources page, it shares links to funds and grants that may be available, and it also has re-open resources that share guidelines tailored to specific industries.
Richard Thomas owns The Island Spot in Bishop Arts. He said in the weeks after the shutdown he lost 90% of his business.
“The last few months have been the most challenging I’ve had as a restaurant owner,” Thomas said. “You move from operating at a certain level and overnight all the business goes away.”
He’s grateful for the new resources from the city.
“We have to try to do as best as we can to be as smart as we can when we think about safety, smart about the finances of our business, and try to watch every dollar,” Thomas said. “And the more support we can get from the city, the more they can put behind small and medium-sized businesses, we’ll be able to keep people employed, keep people active in the workforce, and hopefully we can come out of this stronger.”
If you own a small or medium-sized business impacted by the coronavirus you can find out more about the program at dallasforward.org.
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